Family

To The Mother, Who Left Me For A Bottle Of Jack

Go ahead and buy the bottle instead of buying me clothes, food, and a bed for my little brother

We are your children but you told my father you never wanted us

We are your children but you would rather run toward the booze but he won’t let you choose

You obey his demands because he has a short fuse and threatens to make you lose

everything

He holds you captive without your consent but you lie there discontent because you must obey but it feels like chains. You’re bound to yourself thanks to the alcohol sitting on the shelf

Half of you needs the alcohol that the other half spent years trying to destroy, but you lose every time. We are still your children

Go ahead and bring home another mystery in a brown paper bag on the days we drove to the liquor store and you made your five-year-old stay alone in the car

because you say it’s worth the money and time it takes to hide the addiction from your family

You put it in the closet or the back of the cupboards – too tall for me to reach

My curious mind wonders what you hide and why you bring it out when things get too hard – or when you’re fighting with my dad again for the seventh night this week

Once you were pulled over for speeding and you were intoxicated. Another time we drove on a street next to the river and you swerved because you thought it was funny

You began to laugh but I was terrified that you’d listened to your friend wrapped in the paper you brought home earlier that day

And you swallow the Jack like you forced me to swallow my childhood before I could ever live it

I remember the night I awoke to banging on our front door when I should’ve been sleeping soundly and at peace – I was nine

Who is it, my small voice asked. It’s the police, the voice replied. And then I heard, “We’re here to save you”

We’re here to save you from your mother, from the bottles that haunt your sleep, from the liquid that makes your mother hit your father then beg on her knees for him to come back

I unlocked the door and the police found you passed out in the back room

The neighbors called the police because you said you were never called to be a parent. I stayed with a friend that night

My father regrets your wedding night. You drank too much to function, ranting and raving about how the alcohol made you feel happy, free, full, joyful, carefree, alive

But the bottles only brought discontentment, emptiness, depression, anxiety, death

Your body and mind were only occupied by thoughts of when you could get the next fix. But you didn’t know it then, collapsing into bed with my father before ten

Nine months later came me and two years after me my twin brothers died prematurely because your selfish addition took them away

They’re buried thousands of miles from here and I wonder if you ever think of them.I wonder if they smile from heaven with God proud of who I’ve become. But it’s no matter now because they’re gone

I blame the drinks for stealing my brothers and I hate you for letting them die in your hands, when you held all the power in your hands

The mother who never wanted me wanted the alcohol – the gin the vodka the tequila the rum the whiskey – anything you could get your hands on

They say the best things in life are free, but you didn’t want me. Your beloved, your offspring, you taught me everything I know not to be

You’ve been in prison for over a decade. Maybe you’ve learned that humans have souls and bottles don’t TC mark

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